Update, September 28: DOD Buzz reports Boeing is going to offer two bids, one each for the KC-767 and KC-777. Here is the link. We think this is a brilliant move.
Here is the link to the RFP. We’ll add information after we’ve read it, which will take all weekend. One thing we did find right away: the USAF is asking for field performance data on runways 6,000 ft to 15,000 ft. This means the Boeing 777 isn’t zapped on this criteria; the 2006 RFP required 7,000 ft. runways. The Systems Requirements document does include a 7,000 ft. runway requirement. SRD document pg. 26, 18.104.22.168.1.
On another requirement from the 2006 competition: spare engines had to be transportable in the C-130 cargo plane. A 777 GE 90 wouldn’t fit; this requirement has been changed to the C-17. The C-17 has an 18-foot wide cargo bay; the GE-90 is slightly over 10 ft wide (bare engine, without nacelle). SDR pg. 40, 22.214.171.124.1.
Here is Boeing’s statement, issued upon receipt of the DRFP:
“Our next step is to conduct a detailed review of the document. We want to understand how requirements will be defined and prioritized and how the proposals will be evaluated. That information will help us decide which plane to offer or whether to offer both planes. We appreciate that there will be frequent, open discussion with the U.S. Air Force as we go forward. Both the Air Force and the American taxpayer will benefit from the tanker options we can offer. Boeing has a KC-7A7 ‘family of tankers’ available to meet the warfighter’s requirements. Whether it’s the agile, flexible 767-based tanker or the large 777-based tanker, Boeing will deliver a combat-ready tanker with maximum capability at the lowest cost.”
What is noteworthy is the reference to offering the KC-767 and the KC-777. This is contrary to stated DOD intent to buy only one airplane. This is something we suggested Boeing do for the 2006 competition on the theory it would checkmate the Northrop bid. While we think the 777 is too big for the KC-X competition, a dual-offer by Boeing simply cannot be matched by Northrop.
Northrop believes its KC-30 is the right-sized aircraft in the sweet spot.
Here is Northrop’s statement:
“Northrop Grumman applauds the Defense Department and U.S. Air Force for re-starting the effort to replace its Eisenhower-era KC-135 aerial refueling tankers, and the company is looking forward to competing for and winning the contract again.
“Northrop Grumman will review the draft RFP and provide the U.S. Air Force with comments on the draft in short order. We will defer further public comments until we have completed our review.”
Here is the synopsis as publish on the Business Opportunity website.
FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
The purpose of this notice is to provide industry with a Draft Request for Proposal (DRFP) for the KC-X Tanker Modernization Program. Documents associated with this DRFP are attached.
The Air Force presently operates a nearly 50-year old fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tanker aircraft which requires replacement. The KC-X tanker modernization program is the first step in this process. Key performance capabilities to be provided by the KC-X include: (1) aerial refueling of all current and programmed fixed-wing receiver aircraft; (2) range payload at least as good as the KC-135R; (3) same sortie boom and drogue capability as well as simultaneous drogue, multi-point refueling capability; (4) tanker receiver capability to enhance KC-X fleet effectiveness; (5) airlift capability to carry palletized cargo, passengers, and/or medical patients on the entire main cargo deck, (6) the ability to operate anywhere, anytime with global communication, navigation, and air traffic management; (7) survivability features allowing operation in low to medium threat environments including: detection and defeat of infrared missiles, covert lighting to enable refueling in hostile airspace, and electro-magnetic hardening to protect the aircrew and aircraft; (8) crew and passenger protection from chemical and biological environments; and (9) net centric information exchange with joint services. The primary KC-X mission is to provide aerial refueling support to joint and allied forces engaged in homeland defense, global air-bridge deployments and theater conflicts. The KC-X will also augment existing transport aircraft by providing an enduring cargo capability for sustained materiel, passenger, medical/humanitarian aid transportation.
This procurement will be conducted in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 15, as supplemented. As the initial phase of a comprehensive aerial refueling recapitalization strategy, the KC-X Program will begin replacement of the warfighting capability provided by the current aerial refueling fleet. This program will develop and acquire up to 179 modern aerial refueling tanker aircraft based on existing commercial aircraft designs; a production rate targeted at 15 aircraft per year is anticipated. Five years of interim contractor support will also be procured in support of the long term goal of standing up a completely organic government repair capability. The contractor will ensure the aircraft acquired, including integrated military systems, are certified as flight worthy by the FAA (or foreign equivalent) during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the program.
The KC-X DRFP is attached. Written questions and comments from all interested parties regarding any section of the DRFP are due at the address above (hard copy) and an electronic version should be sent to
836AESG.KC-XRFP6600@wpafb.af.mil , not later than 4PM EDT 26 October 2009. All questions and comments will be considered for possible incorporation into a subsequent draft and/or final RFP. We will only review feedback in the form of written questions or comments. We will post responses to questions and comments on the FedBizOpps website. No response will be provided to any question or comment with proprietary or restrictive markings.
This pre-solicitation announcement is not to be construed as a formal solicitation (Invitation for Bid (IFB) or a Request for Proposal (RFP)). The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this notice. This notice is for information and planning purposes only. The Government will not provide reimbursement of costs associated with any documentation or communication submitted in response to this notice. Any submitted documentation, upon delivery, becomes the property of the U.S. Government and will not be returned. Questions or comments to this notice should be addressed to the Contracting Officer.
Before a KC-X Request for Proposal is released, a Notice of Contract Action will be published at least 15 days prior to such release.